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Goon


A good niche market film will be able to appeal to a wide spectrum of viewers. However, evaluating a film’s overall entertainment value from within said market is a difficult endeavor. Such is the case with Goon, as my subjectivity and interest in the subject matter (a hockey comedy) potentially clouds my judgment and skews my bias.

Grade:

Based on a true story, Goon follows Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott) as he tries to find his calling in this world. As the black sheep in his family of intellectuals, Doug finds his calling as a bruising enforcer while attending a hockey game and beating the living hell out of a guy with no personal repercussions. He soon finds himself moving up the ranks into the minor leagues (just below the NHL) where he is destined to fight the famed hockey enforcer, Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber).

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Michael, your credibility is shrinking by giving an A to a Sean William Scott film.” Maybe so, but hear me out anyway.

Goon, much like its admittedly better predecessor Slap Shot, is perfect for sports fans, particularly those of hockey. There is a particular euphemism used in the sports world for players who do not have much skill (if any), but they go out and play with all they have to help their team get a win in any way they can—a “role player.” In hockey, this guy is often called an enforcer. They’re the behemoth men who can fight their way out of any situation and generally have no contribution to their team except for beating the crap out of the guy who attacks his team’s star player. Here we have Doug Glatt, except he is a gentle soul…with a cranium of steel.

The film starts out with the horseshoe-mustached Liev Schreiber (in probably my favorite so far of his roles) spilling some poor saps blood to the tune of triumphant music, so immediately you know the film will be awesome—ok, maybe I’m the only one who thought that. Yet, despite being about gruesome fighting and a laughably immature best friend (Jay Baruchel as Ryan), Goon has a good heart to it. Sean William Scott—breathe deep everyone—is completely likable in this role! He is soft-spoken, kind-hearted and an all-around nice guy.

His one goal in life is to feel like he is a part of something and actually make a difference. So when he gets his chance to play, you can do nothing but root for the guy since he puts his own health on the line for his teammates, particularly Xavier LaFlamme (Marc-Andre Grondin) the superstar too scared to compete thanks to a vicious hit from Ross Rhea. Doug’s interactions with Eva (Alison Pill—who is gaining recognition as workplace hot from The Newsroom) show how shy and somewhat pathetic he is. In any case, you root for Doug to succeed because you know this is his one shot at something great before going back to being a bouncer. Maybe that’s why I like The Replacements so much. See! Goon helps you learn things about yourself too!

I think I’m trying too hard for your approval of this film, so I’ll be straight with you. If you aren’t interested in hockey, fighting, silly comedy or sports in general, you won’t be amused by it—plain and simple. But if you can appreciate someone who puts everything on the line for their team with little reward and a cast who obviously enjoyed their time making the film, then Goon will leave you in a better mood than beforehand, which is really their goal apart from telling you a story. Much like the main character, Goon will fight for your affection; all you have to do is give it a chance.

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  1. This genuinely surprised me and really thought it was good 😀

    ‘hockey, fighting, silly comedy or sports in general’ not into that stuff generally but still liked it 😀

    Good review 🙂

    • rochpikey
    • July 18th, 2012

    This movie was fantastic and like you said it not just because it is a hockey movie with a lot of fighting, it is a good story. Plus it is always nice to see Scott play a role where he isn’t acting like Stiffler from the American Pie movies. Don’t get me wrong I like him in them but is good to see him do other roles. Solid review, I would definitely give this one an “A” rating as well

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